Suing the President? Carefully calibrated yet tentative statement

Maybe John Boehner shouldn’t have mumbled about suing President Obama months ago. Because what this suggests to me is the tail leading the donkey. (I’m not sure whether Boehner is the donkey here, or its tail. Take your pick.)

Although plenty of lawyers publicly announce lawsuits before they are filed − presumably as a negotiating ploy, i.e., trying to get the thing settled without going through the sweat − the head of the House of Representatives shouldn’t be doing it, especially because he wasn’t trying to pre-negotiate anything. I think.

And then months go by. I can guess at what was going on behind the Republican scene. Lawyers were assembling in conference rooms trying to figure out, after the fact of the announcement, whether the House could sue the President and if so, what for.

Although it’s true that anybody can sue anybody for anything, the first “anybody” shouldn’t be the House of Representatives of the United States Congress. Some plaintiff!

So when the lawyers came up with something to sue about, what was it? The very same Affordable Care Act they’ve been wasting their time (and our money) trying to repeal since it was first enacted:

WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama will focus on changes to the health care law that Mr. Boehner says should have been left to Congress, according to a statement issued Thursday by the speaker’s office.

By narrowly focusing the legal action on the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Boehner will sidestep the more politically problematic issue involving Mr. Obama’s executive action offering work permits for some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Last month, Mr. Boehner announced his intention to seek legislation allowing the House to sue the president over his use of executive actions, a reflection of charges by congressional Republicans that the president has overreached his authority. On Thursday, Mr. Boehner said the lawsuit would specifically challenge the president’s decision to delay imposing penalties on employers who do not offer health insurance to employees in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

I’m amused at the actual hard copy New York Times headline for this article: Suit Against Obama to Focus on Health Law, Boehner Says –

It’s sort of like, um, Boehner says, but is there really a lawsuit? Not yet, apparently, but maybe there will be? And don’t you get the feeling that they ran the impeachment possibility through their pollsters who reminded them how well that turned out when they impeached Clinton?

I’m trying to imagine Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House being so previous, so tentative in making any announcement at all, let alone this really crazy one.





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